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Trial of broadening top education in Pakistan

The Government of Pakistan has decided to create a knowledge-based society for the on-going development process and though allocating additional financial resources for capacity building, R&D (research & development), provision of education access to low social strata children, declined disparity, raised quality to strengthen retention and fall of dropout rate at all levels.

Internationally, experts mentioned that the higher education has been going by fundamental changes for some time. There has been an ideological and organizational shift because of the growing pressure from market forces. When markets were liberalized, private profit-making institutions were permitted to enter into the higher education sector. It is also urged that students now typically choose from a range of universities based on price, quality and availability.

Universities are presently working hard to attract and retain students, and they consider the quality of service as a main determinant. Satisfying the requirements of students is a significant aim for higher education institutions, and these changes are mainly attributed to the policy shift towards their marketization.

Despite criticism, the student as a customer metaphor is gaining ground. In Western states, it is said that universities under market pressure, competing for resources, are readily prepared to accept students as customers. For universities, students are the bearers of precious financial resources in terms of tuition fees, and they can choose universities based on ranking, quality evaluation or referrals from friends and family.

The tradition of collecting statistics on student opinions is not new from a worldwide perspective. One early example was the Yale University student survey of 1929. Presently, statistics through surveys of students’ satisfaction and their learning experience are routinely collected in approximately all universities in the western world.

The United Kingdom, for example, carries out the National Student Survey (NSS) and this year students from greater than 413 universities, colleges and alternative education providers took part. The consequences are shared publicly and HEIs make use of them to form their strategies and practices. In the UK, a separate body called, the office for students has been organized to recognize the central role of students in higher education delivery.

Pakistan is affected by these same changes as part of the transformation of the country’s higher education sector since the establishment of the HEC (Higher Education Commission) and after the entry of the private sector. The statistics published by Ministry of Finance showed that a sum of 185 universities with 58.7 thousand teachers was functional in higher education in FY2017. A rise of 7.9 percent in enrolment was observed as it surged to 1,463.3 thousand during FY2017 as compared to 1,355.6 thousand in FY2016. It was predicted to decline by 2.7 percent i.e. from 1,463.3 thousand in 2017 to 1,423.1 thousand in 2018.

In Pakistan, higher education no doubt plays a critical role in generation and transmission of knowledge, critical to attaining a high growth rate and a competitive position in the worldwide knowledge economy. The financial support of the government towards higher education has resulted in a dramatic revival of the sector, led by the activities of the HEC. The strategies of the HEC – for enhancing the higher education system and its contribution to economic prosperity are geared towards facilitating development in main regions relating to faculty development, enhancing access and increased participation in higher education, promoting excellence in learning and research, and ensuring relevance to the economy through increased stakeholder participation.

 

No doubt, the present government is attempting to mobilize graduates across Pakistan to enhance literacy ratio from 58 percent to 70 percent and working to create nationwide curriculum to remove the disparity in education system as the current education system is based on injustice. HEC in Pakistan instructed universities to organize Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) and launched various proformas. There are two proformas that are relevant to student feedback and student satisfaction: the first proforma is planned to collect student feedback on modules (Proforma-1), while the second proforma is intended to collect views from graduating students in the last semester (Proforma-3).

There is evidence based on foreign experts that collecting student feedback provides students with an opportunity to comment on their learning experience and level of satisfaction. It also encourages reflection on learning and acts as a benchmark for universities. Universities’ management needs to know and understand everything that the students go through, i.e. from the classroom to the campus environment and from interacting with fellow students to staff members to be able to enhance their learning experience. Based on worldwide experience, it is understood that students’ university experience comprises of academic programs also a whole series of social, physical and spiritual experiences that they encounter.

Student feedback data on their learning experience should also be seen as a commitment to take students’ views seriously, recognition that the student learning experience is pivotal in learning, provision of procedures and processes for quality improvement, guidance for strategic management decisions and benchmarking.

In the Pakistani context, both private and public sector university students alike deserve access to information on student feedback and satisfaction. Furthermore, the teachers/faculty feedback is also significant to enhance the quality of higher education in Pakistan.

Conclusion

Truly speaking, education offers frame of reference and perception while we practice different streams of educational institutes, counting madrasas, government and private schools, which create different minds and classes, which never assisted in the making of a nation. Our society has decided that only English medium would go forward. The enhancing quality of education had been taken as a issue by the government through broadening the pool and resolving serious economic issues.

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